As I flounced in, I missed the 'greeter' who would have asked me if I was planning to eat and found me a seat. Instead, I found a vacant bar stool and heaved it to another section of the bar to get more elbow-room. I thought the 'Ale House seemed awfully busy for the time of day but the post-work Friday crowd were obviously also out for a few drinks. It has a long bar down most of the right-hand side and tables for diners taking up the floor space. Having perused the beer menu, I plumped for an enjoyable Geary's Autumn Ale. The food menu was jolly tempting but once again I stupidly missed the chance to eat.

A short stroll from there, I entered Jake's Dilemma and was I.D.'d by a blister who must have been my junior by around fifteen years. As I drank my pint of Goose Island IPA, the doorman's fastidiousness was explained. I suspect it is very popular amongst students as I am certain I was the oldest customer by ten years or more. I felt decidedly grizzled. Beer Pong was being played in one part of the room. Not one of my favourite bars. If I trolled up Amsterdam Avenue again, I would give it a miss. A sign on the wall did state that each month a percentage of profit is donated to local charities, so if you do pop in, you can feel good about drinking in there!

My next stop was The Gin Mill, a dreadfully busy and terribly lively bar between W81st and W82nd Streets. A most convivial atmosphere was present but it was so chock-a- block I couldn't even find perching room at the bar as I drank my beer (details unknown). I had to 'float' near the bar, eyes fixed on one of the screens arranged about the walls. It's another long pub with lots of tables but all were stacked solid with customers both with the nose bag on and drinks in hand.

The narrowest of all of the bars I found in NYC was The Dead Poet, just a few doors down from The Gin Mill. Mahogany-panelled walls feature portraits of various dead poets and other literary jonnies. My first was a Captain Lawrence ale, an IPA I think but I can't recall how I found it. Second was a 7.5% bottle of Dead Poet Epic IPA which went down jolly well, especially as I was charged $8 instead of the stated $12. It never got very busy but the staff and other customers were nice and friendly.

Across the Avenue I found St James' Gate, a smarter and somewhat posher bar than I usually enjoy. Again, I'd most-likely give this one a miss and choose one of the others instead. However, if you're looking for a meal rather than craft beers, this place may be just the pip.

Not far from Amsterdam Avenue is Dive75 at 101 West 75th Street, a busy little place with a decent selection of ales and food available. There is a large fishtank which almost acts as a divider to split the room into two. A relaxing choice I thought. On one occasion I had nipped in for a couple of bracers and I was given an extra beer for nothing. My chosen beer ran out as it was poured, not making a full glass so I paid for another and was given the nearly-full glass for free. Beer bargain. Sports were always shown on the numerous screens but sadly, I again saw no cricket.

- Boko Fittleworth
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